Ultimate gaming revenge? Spoil the ending
Rae Johnston is an avid video gamer and editor of a tech magazine, but when she was confronted in a cafe for wearing a BioShock Infinite t-shirt, she was forced to defend her gaming credentials.PT2M27S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ic0q 620 349 April 23, 2013
Rae Johnston was in a Sydney cafe waiting to collect her coffee when a man in the queue noticed she was wearing a T-shirt stamped with the title of the popular video game Bioshock Infinite.
After the man shot her a couple of disgusted looks, he snapped: "I bet you haven't even played."
It's not the first time the 31-year-old from Sydney has had to defend her gaming credentials. For years she has fought comments from online gamers such as "return to the kitchen where you belong".
Rae Johnston: has had to defend her gaming credentials Photo: Jo Lincoln
"This is the kind of thing you do hear online. You [also] see it in comments on videos on YouTube: 'Oh I bet those girls don't really play [video games]. They're just doing it to get a guy's attention.' That sort of thing."
In the cyber realm she only has to refer the critic to her gamer tag (a unique online identity), which shows her occupation as the lifestyle, gaming and social media editor for Bauer Media's Techlife magazine, and their microphones go mute.
But when the type of misogynist male who has tormented her online stood centimetres away from her in the real-life setting of a cafe, she found herself "shocked" by his comments.
Johnston admits she is not usually a confrontational person but because she had only finished the game three days earlier, the first thought that came into her head was: "Back off dude. It's not cool what you've done." So she returned fire with a direct hit: she calmly told him the game's ending.
One look at the sheer volumes of articles and threads on message boards discussing the "shocking" and "unforgettable" conclusion of Bioshock Infinite, and it's clear how devastating Johnston's rebuff would have been.
Forbes writer Carol Pinchefsky called the game a "tour de force of storytelling"; Buzzfeed has pulled together an article featuring videos of "truly flabbergasted" gamers reacting to the narrative. The first-person shooter not only features an unexpected ending but a series of clever twists, with clues peppered throughout the game.
"To know the ending at any stage of playing the game would completely ruin the entire experience of the game", says Johnston.
And the man who questioned her knowledge of Bioshock Infinite in the cafe had no knowledge of the game himself . . . "While I was speaking to him I saw his face crumble and I could tell instantly that he hadn't played it."
It was a "poetic" and "sweet" moment for the Techlife editor and one she shared with her followers on Twitter. Within an hour of posting it on April 11, her tweet was trending in San Francisco, then a couple of hours later in Britain, Canada and Australia.
On the same day, trend sites such as Cheezburger and Buzzfeed began to feature her as a sort of heroine gamer with the former running the headline "This is payback for women who've been questioned about their gaming credibility". Soon celebrities across the pond began to heap plaudits on her actions.
Star Trek actor Will Wheaton, who features in episodes of The Big Bang Theory, re-blogged her tweet on Tumblr then contacted her via Twitter, congratulating her on "spoiling it for a douche" without revealing the ending to others.
Gail Simone, who used to write the Wonder Woman comics and now pens Batgirl, posted the tweet on her blog Ape in a Cape, writing that Johnston's comeback made her "laugh so damn hard".
Courtnee Draper, the voice actor who plays the main character in Bioshock Infinite, congratulated Johnston on her handling of the situation. "I think you are so awesome. I love the way you handled that guy in the coffee queue. Hope you enjoyed our game!"
To date the tweet has been re-blogged on Tumblr 93,000 times. It's been re-tweeted 9000 times and her follower numbers have leapt from 1500 to over 5000.
While it's clear her experience has clearly struck a nerve online, Johnston is quick to point out that most adult male gamers are supportive.
"Once the guys get a bit older they're grateful that there is that gender balance. I think they see the need for more women to be entering the gaming industry because we make some good games and we come at things from a different perspective, and that's needed in order to continue the art form."
But she admits it is the misogynist males who get the most airplay. "It's sad that these kinds of people are the ones who have the loudest voice."
If the deafening roar of support she has received via social media is anything to go by, in this battle it won't be too long before these voices will be drowned out.